9.10.2016 Emergency, South Bay, CA

Case Count: 8

Man, oh, man. I'm feeling untethered from time, it feels like I'm here or driving to or from here every minute of every day. Eight shifts in nine-and-a-half days. It's even weirder when it's quiet, which it was most of today. I had a flurry of cases in the evening, though. 

I was really bummed out by a young squirrel that got munched over the pelvis by a cat and has one leg that's not working. Hopefully it's temporary. I gave him the tiniest doses of pain meds, antibiotics, and fluids. He perked up, but...I'm skeptical that he'll recover. Also had a hospitalized bunny, a dog that may have eaten a rat (left without diagnostics or treatment), a raisin ingestion (can kill some dogs' kidneys), another sqirrel in a comically over-sized box, and a dog with a sore dewclaw (for a month). 

Injured squirrel

Overly-contained squirrel

Oh, and a little white dog that took a car to the shoulder and seems only to have a sore shoulder (on account of THE CAR)...and high liver enzymes that I'm still trying to explain.

Oh, and the Animal Control Officer had a giant tortoise in her van. Because he was, like, wandering around. A neighborhood. WTF?

Favorite Quotes

  • "Today is Day 3 of 4?" "I'm looking at it more as Day 7 of 8."
  • Phone rings after we discharge a squirrel to Animal Control - "Another squirrel." "ANOTHER squirrel?" "Another squirrel."

Case of the Day

9yo female spayed Bernese Mountain Dog
Bone cancer, euthanasia
     Bone cancers are most common in large- and giant-breed dogs, and the most concerning type is osteosarcoma. This cancer is extremely aggressive and painful, mostly occurs in the limbs. This dog started limping a month ago and stopped being able to use the leg this week. By yesterday, much of her femur was visibly eaten away on xrays. The most effective pain relief, believe it or not, is to amputate the affected leg. Osteosarcoma spreads so fast, though that patients still die, often before they've fully healed up from surgery. There are cutting-edge limb-sparing surgeries and chemotherapy/radiation can help extend life for weeks to months, but most owners end up euthanizing without extensive workup and treatment.

The owners had us collect a bunch of samples (cheek swab, blood, and tumor) to submit for a Bernese Mountain Dog DNA/Health database at Michigan State University, so she helped move us along in our understanding of this devastating disease. They also brought in their other Berner for the appointment, and she was a supportive champ through the whole thing. One of the owners said this was his first dog. He was extremely upset. I hope I was able to communicate through their grief that this was a compassionate and well-timed decision.